Three years ago, I met a guy named Norm and decided I had to make a film about him.
Norm is one of those people you either love or hate right away. At first glance, he looks like a caricature of a scientist: long white beard, thick bifocals, and pens jutting out of his chest pocket. If you ask him about his work, which is studying spiders, he’ll be happy to tell you all about it. But when he talks, he talks fast, and you get the distinct impression that you better not ask him to repeat himself. He agreed to be filmed for this project –but if I stopped to adjust camera or tweak a light, I’d end up turning around just in time to see him disappear round a corner.
You see, Norm is always in a hurry.
But with good reason – there’s still about 40,000 spiders left to find.
All around the world, scientists like Norm (as well as students, teachers, nature enthusiasts, amateur photographers) are trying to find and identify Earth’s unknown biodiversity. For more than 200 years, scientists have been drawn to the big, obvious creatures – mammals, birds, reptiles, and green plants – and we now know most of those creatures. The problem, though, is that all those creatures add up to just 3% of the life on the planet. And while they get all the attention, the other 97% is rapidly disappearing.
So I’m making a film about Norm and other people on the quest to find the remaining 97% of life on earth. Along the way, I’ll be putting clips, photos, and stories up here so you can see how it’s going and be a part of the process. My hope is that this film will get the word out on the importance of this work – of finding and knowing the rest of Earth’s biodiversity – so that we can convince funders and scientific institutions to help this field flourish once again.
Thanks for being a part of this effort.
And more soon!